Bracebridge hockey historian Ken Veitch is widening the net in a continuing search for official proof behind a hometown goalie’s remarkable two-goal game.
Veitch has been working to find the official game sheet for the historic 1997 game between the Muskoka Bears and the Durham Huskies, where Bears goalie Ryan Venturelli achieved a feat believed to be unrivalled to this day. Veitch approached this newspaper several weeks ago in the hopes that someone in Muskoka could assist in finding the game sheet, but so far nobody has come forward.
Though Veitch is still looking for that document, he’s also open to testimony from anybody who witnessed the game.
“If we need that, I’ll go to that,” he said. “I’ll get sworn statements.”
Veitch said there were no shortages of onlookers that day, ranging from audience members to the scorekeeper.
The need for witnesses to come forward is especially important, as hopes for finding the score sheet have dimmed following a recent conversation Veitch had with the president of the league.
“He reported back that he does not think the organization would have kept those game sheets because they only keep them up to six years,” said Veitch. “I think there are some 18,000 game sheets a year, so it’s no wonder they can’t store them forever.”
Though local media, including this newspaper, documented Venturelli’s milestone, the Hockey Hall of Fame has been hoping for more official proof before giving its final stamp of approval to Venturelli’s accomplishment.
"We’ve agreed that there’s no doubt this happened, it’s just if we could find the game sheet like we’re trying to do, it just gives it a little more credence and they have something to point at,” said Veitch of his conversations with the Hall of Fame.Just 18 at the time, Venturelli scored both goals in the game’s third period when the Huskies were trailing 9-5. When the Huskies pulled their goalie halfway into the period, Venturelli took a wild shot from across the rink following a quick faceoff to land his first goal of the game. About five minutes later, a Huskies player accidentally sent the puck into his own net after a failed pass to a teammate. Venturelli was given credit for that goal as he was the last Bears player to touch the puck.
“I would personally have kept that game sheet,” said Veitch. “That may never happen again.”
A mortgage development manager today, Venturelli went on to play hockey in several other leagues, but hasn’t been able to repeat the remarkable feat. Within the NHL, only 10 goalies have managed to score a goal.